Wanting to see the community not only come together but thrive, this year’s Watrous Citizen of the Year has played an integral part in that desire. During the Town of Watrous Christmas Party Dec. 8, Ron Ediger was recognized with the prestigious Citizen of the Year award.

Constructing and spearheading Memory Trail, a unique walking trail joining Watrous and Manitou Beach together, Ediger who owns Melron Services Ltd. covered the entire cost and the work of the project. Along with donating funds to other worthy causes, Ediger was humbled to have received this year’s award.

“I am just trying to make our community a better place and when I got the call that I had been named as this year’s Watrous Citizen of the Year, it was very heartwarming. For me, I have always been a guy who wants to make things happen. When the opportunity came about to get that trail done, it was something I wanted to do and it is satisfying to see so many people enjoying it.”

In the nomination letter submitted by former Manitou Beach Mayor Eric Upshall, he noted the area is very fortunate to have a person like Ron Ediger as a member of the community. “Ron brings strong assets as a community-minded businessman in Watrous. He dedicates himself to many causes in not only Watrous and area but also outside our trading area. Historically Ron has been recognized privately and publicly for dedicating himself to improving the cultural, physical and human aspects in our area.”

Not only lending his support to a number of initiatives but also building pride in the community, Memory Trail was the latest project for Ediger. Collaborating with local governments, the Government of Saskatchewan, the Watrous Rotary, businesses and families, Ediger took care of the cost of the trail and used his own equipment and resources from Melron Services Ltd. Officially opened earlier this year and enjoyed by residents and visitors, the trail has also brought the two communities together.

“Ron’s personal touch and genuine concern for people can be seen in the trail design that provides a safe path away from the highway and in the quality of the construction,” noted Upshall. “Building and funding the trail is a feat, but even greater is the cultural and human value it provides to our area.”

In addition to his generosity locally, Ediger has also supported other worthy causes including a recent $50,000 donation to the Jim Pattison Children’s Hospital in Saskatoon. That comes after a $100,000 donation a few years ago to the hospital. “These generous acts attract attention to Watrous and highlights the character of its citizens. Ron cares about his community and beyond. He cares about spearheading and supporting worthy causes. He cares about people.”

This is not the first time Ediger has been recognized for his tremendous efforts within the community and beyond. In 2017, Ron along with his late wife Melissa received the prestigious honour of Watrous Citizens of the Year. During that time, and as is the case now for Ron, a major focus was placed on community through their generosity and efforts. “We try hard and we appreciate the community, the town and the support we receive and want to give back and show people the appreciation of what they have given us over the years,” said Ron in 2017.

The pair not only began Melron Services Ltd. from the ground up but grew it to become well-known throughout the area. As part of that Ron and Melissa gave back through substantial donations towards many initiatives like the Watrous District Health Complex, a new Zamboni at the Watrous Centennial Arena, the Watrous Manitou Beach Heritage Centre, the Watrous Kinsmen Bull-A-Rama and numerous clubs and organizations. In addition to their fundraising efforts, Ron and Melissa also contributed through supplying equipment, labour and prizes towards various events and organizations.

“The community has been wonderful and a lot of our customers have also become friends.”

After getting into the business world in 1972, in 1988 Ron decided to sell his place in Nokomis and moved to Watrous where he began selling vehicles with Watrous Mainline Motors GM. It was during that time where he made a lot of acquaintances and met numerous customers. After he left the world of selling cars and began Melron Services with Melissa, Ron remarked, “A lot of people followed us and stayed our customers. That is how it grew, by just playing in the dirt.”

Looking back on those years and after receiving the honour in 2023, Ediger said he is humbled and looks forward to seeing the community continue to grow. “I saw a need for the trail and wanted to make it happen. That is something I have tried to do during my time here, is help the community. They have supported us and I wanted to give back and say thanks. I also wanted to say a big thank you to my past and present staff who have helped me over the years to see our company succeed and grow.”

- Thanks to the Watrous Manitou for permission to re-issue this story by Daniel Bushman.